Challenges and Solutions for Complex Business Process Management

Challenges and Solutions for Complex Business Process Management

Minhong Wang (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong) and Kuldeep Kumar (Florida International University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-669-3.ch001
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

A business process displays complexity as a result of multiple interactions of its internal components and interaction between the process and its environment. To manage complexity and foster flexibility of business process management (BPM), we present the DCAR architecture for developing complex BPM systems, which includes decomposition of complex processes (D); coordination of interactive activities (C); awareness of dynamic environments (A); and resource selection and coordination (R). On the other hand, computing technologies, such as object-oriented programming, component-based development, agent-oriented computing, and service-oriented architecture have been applied in modeling and developing complex systems. However, there is considerable ambiguity involved in differentiating between these overlapping technologies and their use in developing BPM systems. No explicit linkage has been established between the requirement of complex BPM and the supporting technologies. In this study, we use the DCAR architecture as the foundation to identify the BPM requirements for employing technologies in developing BPM systems. Based on an examination of the both sides (BPM requirements and supporting technologies), we present a clear picture of business process complexity with a systemic approach for developing complex BPM systems by using appropriate computing technologies.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

Businesses around the world are paying more attention to process management and process automation to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness. It is increasingly common to describe organizations as sets of business processes that can be improved by business process management (BPM). Most approaches to BPM have used information technologies to support or automate business processes, in whole or in part, by providing computer-based systems support. These technology-based systems help coordinate and streamline business transactions, reduce operational costs, and promote real-time visibility in business performance.

Traditional approaches to building and implementing BPM systems use workflow technologies to design and control the business process. Workflow-based systems follow highly structured and predefined workflow models, and are well suited to applications with stable inputs, processes, and outputs. Contemporary business processes are becoming increasingly complex and dynamic as they seek to cope with a wide range of internal and external interactions and changes. To provide sufficient flexibility and adaptability in BPM, a number of researchers have been investigating the approaches and techniques for developing BPM systems for an increasingly turbulent environment (Casati et al., 1999; Chiu et al., 1999; Weske, 2001; Wang et al., 2002, 2005a; K. Kumar et al., 2006). Most studies have focused on present process structures and provide rapid response to changes that lead to temporary and short term fluctuations in the organization’s activities.

In this study, we view business process as a complex system that adapts to continuously changing and unpredictable environments in order to survive. A business process displays complexity because of multiple interactions of its internal components and interaction between the process and its environment. To manage complexity and foster flexibility of complex systems, modularity is the key to the solution (Baldwin et al., 1997; Simon, 1981). Modularity in BPM requires decomposing a complex BPM system into a number of interacting components that perform the processes. Based on the investigation of business process complexity and modularity theory, we present the DCAR architecture for developing complex BPM systems, which include decomposition of complex processes (D); coordination of interactive activities (C); awareness of dynamic environments (A); and resource selection and coordination (R).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Component-Based Development: Component-Based Development (CBD) is software engineering discipline, with an emphasis on decomposition of the engineered systems into functional or logical components with well-defined interfaces used for communication across the components.

Business Process: A business process can be simply defined as a collection of activities that create value by transforming inputs into more valuable outputs. These activities consist of a series of steps performed by actors to produce a product or service for the customer.

Agent-Oriented Computing: Agent Oriented Computing (AOC) is based on the idea of delegating tasks and responsibility of a complex problem to software agents. It emphasizes autonomy and mutual co-operation of agents in performing tasks in open and complex environments.

Object-Oriented Programming: Object-oriented Programming (OOP) is a software engineering paradigm that uses “objects” and their interactions to design applications and computer programs

Modularity: Modularity refers to a particular design structure, which refers to development of a complex product or process from smaller subsystems that can be designed independently.

Business Process Management: Business Process Management (BPM) refers to activities performed by organizations to design (capture processes and document their design in terms of process maps), model (define business processes in a computer language), execute (develop software that enables the process), monitor (track individual processes for performance measurement), and optimize (retrieve process performance for improvement) operational business processes by using a combination of models, methods, techniques, and tools

Situation Awareness: Situation awareness is the perception and understanding of objects, events, people, system states, interactions, environmental conditions, and other situation-specific factors in complex and dynamic environments

Service-Oriented Architecture: Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) utilizes Web services as fundamental elements for developing applications. It is an emerging paradigm for architecting and implementing business collaborations within and across organizational boundaries.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset